Somehow Sam ends up sprawled in the bathtub, the shower curtain pinning him down awkwardly, a bottle of scotch in one hand and a buoy knife in the other. He's slashing at invisible things, wraiths hovering just out of reach. Lucifer's voice, taunting him: it ends when you can't take it anymore.
He's been trying, he has, but these things come out in random spurts of violence and alcohol and right now it's both. Maybe he shouldn't've been drinking, not knowing when Dean would be back, but for now like always it's just him and Lucifer and the voices in his head and Hell, its black rotten fingers creeping around the doorjamb, easing through the walls, throwing them into a bright scarlet contrast.
Lucifer is less cajoling and more screaming at him, now, though that could be the booze, screaming in his veins. Sam doesn't remember falling into this porcelain bed, doesn't remember if he tripped or if Lucifer threw him down, or maybe that's his broken brain talking. But the knife is still in his hand and it can't protect him from this, can't protect him from Leviathans or Lucifer or losing Castiel or anything else.
Sam holds it up sloppily, letting it catch the grit of the light.
He hears Lucifer's exultant intake of breath, his own mind, trying to kill him: yes.
He just needs to feel the pain; just long enough to silence Lucifer, just long enough to wait for Dean. With the pinking scar on his hand no longer an option, Sam remembers the age old adage: up the street, not across the way.
But everything's backwards, and he thinks maybe he's got that wrong.
He just wants Lucifer to shut up.
Dean returns weighed down with tacos and beer.
He has no right to be happy, because the world is still in the crapper and Sam's stopped sleeping, reverted to the dark circles under the dark circles under his eyes, and he's losing weight. But maybe a few good meals and a day or two off will do them some good. Maybe a step back will show them what they're missing, a way to stop the Leviathans. Either way, Sam jumped at the option and Dean's feeling lighter than he has in months.
He backs into the motel room with the bags of food slung over his wrists. "Hope you're hungry, Sam!" But then he stops, because the first sweep of the room shows him Sam is absent. A hungry chill prickles down his arms and he dumps tacos and beer onto the table, pulling out his firearm. "Sam?"
It takes him a minute to hear the rush of water and he thinks Sam is showering. But there's a rich and hearty tang of alcohol on the air that puts him on edge; Dean hasn't missed the destructive tendencies that burst from Sam at random, from burning his hand on a kitchenette stove to taking a knife to the ribs in a way Dean could've sworn was purely on purpose. If they've added heavy drinking to that, Dean is determined to put the brakes on his little brother's idea of managing his clusterfucked mind.
Dean knocks on the door. "Sam, you in there?" He yells loud enough to know Sam has heard him, but there's no response. Uneasy awareness stumbles drunkenly toward bleak horror, and Dean realizes the door is unlocked. He shoves it in.
Sam is lying in a porcelain tomb, a bloody handprint on sea foam-green tiles above his head, like he tried to hoist himself from the bathtub, and failed. The bar of the shower curtain is trapping his chest; and the knife in his hand is dripping. His wrists are dripping, parallel slits in the skin belching blood sluggishly into bracelets on his forearms.
"Sam?" Dean crosses the room in two strides and heaves the curtain off, throwing it into the corner. "Sam—Sammy!" He's down on one knee, grabbing a towel off the rack beside the shower, clamping it to Sam's shredded wrists. They're reopened scars, wounds from their run-ins with ghouls years ago. Sam followed the blueprint straight to the doorstep of death, and there's so much blood mixed with the water under him Dean can't even see straight beyond it.
His free hand finds his brother's cold, cold face. "Sam, no, don't you do this, don't you leave me now—Sammy!"
And one last time, desperately: "SAM!"